There is a lot of talk about DTF transfers being produced on DTG printers, and yes you can print DTF film on a DTG printer, but there are significant differences in the two products and the end result. This post explains those differences from a company that supplies both DTG and DTF systems, The information in this post is about the actual differences in the two processes, both are great and I have been involved in the DTG process since it was discovered over 15 years ago.
Until DTF popped its head up, DTG was the dominant digital textile decoration process set to grow and continue to take market share over the coming years. The holy grail for the DTG process was to remove the need to pre-treat dark garments, for 15 years chemists, engineers and entrepreneurs have tried to make this happen to no avail.
Before this post gets technical, lets look at the most important facts of DTF over DTG.
DTF requires no pre-treatment no matter what the fabric type or colour.
There is no weeding required with an automated DTF system.
Polyester, workwear and stretchy sportswear can be decorated with DTF, it will not crack.
Cost per print in consumables is on average 40% to 70% less with DTF than DTG, print & cut and white toner (WOW Paper or forever paper).
Increased production, currently 1000 full colour chest prints an hour (R-Jet PRO DTF 60).
Reduced labour costs due to automation and 15 second curing time.
Looking at these facts makes you wonder why anyone would choose DTG over DTF, the fact is, DTG was the in my opinion the best digital textile printing process until DTF came along. There will always be a place for DTG printing, screen printing and other print processes. A good example this is reel to reel wide format fabric printing, this is still produced using DTG technology and is still the best process for producing patterned flat fabrics.
The fact is, where finished garments are being printed, automated DTF is faster, cheaper to produce and the prints are more durable.
Lets take a look at some of the technical reasons why there is a big difference between DTG and DTF printing.
DTF inks are hugely different to DTG inks.
In order to work correctly, DTG inks are designed to adhere to fabrics and react with pre-treatment. This makes them more expensive to make. The polymer binders used in DTG inks are very costly, these binders are not used in DTF inks making them more stable, less expensive and easier to jet.
Resolute Premium DTF inks have double the colour gamut of DTG pigments, this means brighter colours and a much greater depth of colour. When it comes to colour matching DTF can get much closer than DTG to Pantone spot colours.
Because a true DTF ink has the characteristics of Latex ink, when combined with a good quality adhesive powder and cured correctly it produces a very high quality print with better washing properties. At Resolute we have performed many wash tests side by side, the truth is, DTG inks cannot and do not last as long in the wash over a good quality DTF print.
If we compare the print speed of a DTG printer along with the process involved, an automated DTF system can easily out perform a similar priced DTG printer and pre-treatment machine. Some DTG’s with automatic in-line pre-treatment cost more than ten times that of an R-Jet PRO DTF System and are still unable to compete on speed and economy.
Example scenario - 200 grey polyester polos printed left chest, full colour image with white text.
The DTG process will involve pre treatment, inline or offline this is a process DTF does not require.
R-Jet PRO DTF
Print 200 chest logos 100mm x 30mm at 1800dpi - 15 minutes.
200 x pressing time of 15 seconds plus 15 seconds loading, 100 minutes.
Best case scenario - 115 minutes - 1 hour 15 minutes production time.
DTG printer using pre-treatment machine.
Pre-treat & dry 200 polos @ 1 minute per shirt 200 minutes.
Load and print 200 polos @ 1 minutes per shirt 200 minutes.
Press 200 polos or tunnel dry @ 1 minute per shirt 200 minutes.
Best case scenario - 600 minutes - 10 hours production time.
The cost of both systems is around the same and assumed sub £20k with heat press, pre-treatment machine and printer included, or automated DTF system. The big difference is the DTF system has produced a higher quality product in much less time and for less consumable costs and less labour time.
In my 15 years experience in the DTG industry I have never used a garment decoration process that can produce as many printed garments as the R-Jet PRO DTF automated system in such a short space of time.
WHY BUY FROM RESOLUTE?
Operator ability is a key factor in both the DTG and DTF process, training is key to the success of both processes. At Resolute we offer all our DTF customers a unique warranty, this includes a non profit back up Trade Print service where we only charge for consumables and labour. Leaky roof, staff shortages, holidays, Covid related delays or any other disaster, we make sure your business continues to produce, quickly and efficiently. This is not a public service and is exclusive to Resolute customers who own one of our DTF systems purchased directly from Resolute. This very popular service also bridges the gap between placing an order and taking delivery of your new DTF system. No need to wait, you have access to our exclusive Trade Print service the minute you place your order.
Our new DTF Boot Camp training facility, launching in 2022 offers pre installation training and advanced operator training at no extra cost.